blade: a long slender prismatic flake manufactured by indirect percussion or pressure from a prepared core. (See macroblade and microblade.) At least twice as long as it is wide.
blank: an "advanced" Preliminary stage in the manufacture of an artifact (also: "preform".)
blending theory: an early and incorrect idea that a child is an intermediate between maternal and paternal genetic characteristics.
body sherd: any fragment of a ceramic vessel not identifiable as a rim sherd.
bone age: a standard age based upon the appearances of centers of ossification and fusions of growth plates.
bone breccia: cave fill that consists of masses of bone cemented together with calcium carbonate that has dissolved out of limestone.
bone hammer: a bone that is used as a hammer in the removal of flakes from a core in the manufacturing of stone tools.
bone industry All the bone artifacts from a particular site.
boreal forest: "subarctic forest." A dense mixed forest dominated by spruce, aspen and birch with areas of muskeg. It extends as far north as the tree-line (edge of the tundra) and is the largest single vegetation zone in Canada.
bosing (or bowsing): a subsurface detection method performed by striking the ground with a heavy wooden mallet or a lead-filled container on a long handle.
boulder arrangement: (also boulder mosaic, petroform.) surface boulders aboriginally arranged into geometric, zoomorphic or anthropomorphic patterns.
bound morphemes: morphemes that must be attached to other morphemes to convey meaning.
bourgeoisie: a Marxian term referring to the middle class.
brachiation: hand-over-hand locomotion along a branch with the body suspended underneath the branch by the arms.
brain endocasts: these are made by pouring latex rubber into a skull, 50 as to produce an accurate image of the inner surface of the cranium. This method gives an estimate of cranial capacity and has been used on early hominid skulls.
brain lateralization: see lateralization.
branch running and walking: a form of quadrupedalism in which the animal walks along a branch grasping with both the hands and the feet.
break-in-slope: any abrupt change in the gradient of a topographic surface, such as the edge of a cliff, terrace scarp, etc.
breaking chain: the process of obtaining horizontal distances over sloping terrain with a surveyor's chain by measuring stepped level intervals up the slope.
breast bud: an elevation of the breast as a small mound; the earliest sign of puberty in the female.
bride price: payment made by a man to the family from whom he takes a daughter in marriage.
bride service: service rendered by a man as payment to a family from whom he takes a daughter in marriage.
bride wealth: property given by the family of the groom to the family of the bride to compensate them for the loss of their daughter's services.
Broca's area: a small area in the human brain that controls the production of speech.
Bronze Age: the stage of cultural history that includes the earliest civilizations and the development of metallurgy.
brow ridge: the ridge of bone above the eye sockets.
brunton compass: a sophisticated magnetic compass used as a basic surveying instrument. Also known as the "Brunton Pocket Transit".
bulb of percussion: a raised rounded area on the ventral surface of a conchoidal flake directly below the striking platform.
burial mound: an artificial aboriginal mound containing or covering human burials.
burial: a human interment. may be "flexed" or "extended"; single or multiple; primary or secondary.
burin: a type of chipped stone artifact characterized by the deliberate removal of small prismatic flakes (burin-spalls) down one or more edges. Commonly assumed to have served as engraving or carving tools.
butchering station: a site, or localized activity area within a site, dominated by evidence for the past butchering of game animals (e.g. broken and cut faunal remains and butchering tools).
bytroop: a multimale group found among baboons and other primates
cache: a deliberate store of equipment, food, furs or other resources placed in, or on the ground (perhaps protected by a rock cairn), or raised above the ground on a platform.
cairn: stones intentionally piled by humans.
calcined bone: burned bone reduced to white or blue mineral constituents.
calendrical system: a system of measuring time that is based on natural recurring units of time, such as revolutions of the earth around the sun. Time is determined by the number of such units that have preceded or elapsed with reference to a specific point in time.
call system: a repertoire of sounds, each of which is produced in response to a particular situation.
Callitrichidae: family of New World monkeys consisting of the marmosets and tamarins.
carbohydrates: organic compounds composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen; includes the sugars and starches.
carbon sample: a quantity of organic material, usually charcoal, collected for radiocarbon dating.
carnivore: an animal that eats primarily meat.
carrier: a person who possesses a recessive allele in the heterozygous condition.
carrying capacity: the point at or below which a population tends to stabilize.
cast: a representation of an organism created when a substance fills in a mold.
caste: a social category in which membership is fixed at birth and usually unchangeable.
catalogue number: a number assigned all items recovered by archaeological research to cross-index them to the catalogue.
catalogue: the systematic list recording artifacts and other finds, recovered by archaeological research, including their description and Provenience.
cataract: opacity of the eye lens, often inherited as a dominant. The type may vary according to the action of a modifying gene.
catarrhine nose: a nose in which the nostrils open downward and are separated by a narrow nasal septum; found in Old World monkeys, apes, and humans.
Catarrhini: infraorder of the order Primates that includes Old World monkeys and the hominoids plus various extinct taxa.
catastrophe theory: a branch of mathematical topology developed by Rene Thom which is concerned with the way in which nonlinear interactions within systems can produce sudden and dramatic effects; ills argued that there are only a limited number of ways in which such changes can take place, and these are defined as elementary catastrophes.
catastrophic age profile: a mortality pattern based on bone or tooth wear analysis, and corresponding to a "natural" age distribution in which the older the age group, the fewer the individuals it has. This pattern is often found in contexts such as flash floods, epidemics, or volcanic eruptions.
catastrophism: the belief that the fossil forms represented in each layer of the earth were destroyed by a catastrophic event and that the next set of plants and animals represented a new creation event and were organisms that survived the catastrophe.
cation-ratio dating: this method aspires to the direct dating of rock carvings and engravings, and is also potentially applicable to Paleolithic artifacts with a strong patina caused by exposure to desert dust. It depends on the principle that cations of certain elements are more soluble than others; they leach out of rock varnish more rapidly than the less soluble elements, and their concentration decreases with time.
cattle complex: an East African socioeconomic system in which cattle represent social status as well as wealth.
cebid: a member of the family Cebidae; the New World monkeys excluding the marmosets and tamarins.
Cebidae: family of New World monkeys that includes the squirrel, spider, howler, and capuchin monkeys, among others.
Ceboidea: superfamily that includes all the New World monkeys, consisting of the families Callitrichidae and Cebidae.
cell: the smallest unit that is considered to be alive. All living organisms either are one cell or are composed of several cells.
cenote:a ritual well, for example, at the late Maya site of Chichen Itza, into which enormous quantities of symbolically rich goods had been deposited.
census: a comprehensive survey of a population designed to reveal its basic demographic characteristics.
central place theory: developed by the geographer Christaller to explain the spacing and function of the settlement landscape. Under idealized conditions, he argued, central places of the same size and nature would be equidistant from each other, surrounded by secondary centers with their own smaller satellites. In spite of its limitations, central place theory has found useful applications in archaeology as a preliminary heuristic device.
centralization: concentration of political and economic decisions in the hands of a few individuals or institutions.
centriole: a pair of small bodies found near the nucleus from which the spindle is formed.
centromere: a structure in the chromosome holding the two chromatics together. During cell division it is the site of attachment for the spindle fibers.
cephalic index: the breadth of the head relative to its length.
ceramics: deliberately fired clay artifacts, such as ceramic vessels.
Cercopithecidae: family that includes all the Old World monkeys, such as guenons, mangabeys, macaques, and baboons.
Cercopithecinae: subfamily that contains the Old World monkeys that are omnivorous and possess cheek pouches.
Cercopithecoidea: superfamily that consists of the Old World monkeys.
ceremonial fund: the portion of the peasant budget allocated to religious and social activities.
chain: a surveying chain, or long steel tape-measure, calibrated in meters or feet, used for site mapping and grid layout.
chaine operatoire: ordered chain of actions, gestures, and processes in a production sequence (e.g. of a stone tool or a pot) which led to the transformation of a given material towards the finished product. The concept, introduced by Andre Leroi-Gourhan, is significant in allowing the archaeologist to infer back from the finished artifact to the procedures, the intentionality in the production sequence, and ultimately to the conceptual template of the maker.
chalcedony: a semi-translucent silicate (quartz) rock with a wax-like luster and a great range of colors, used as raw material for the manufacture of chipped stone artifacts. Commonly called agate.
characterization: the application of techniques of examination by which characteristic properties of the constituent material of traded goods can be identified, and thus their source of origin; e.g. petrographic thin-section analysis.
cheek pouch: a pocket in the cheek that opens into the mouth; some Old World monkeys store food in the cheek pouch.
cheek teeth: the premolars and molars.
chert: a mainly opaque, fairly granular, silicate rock with a dull shiny luster and a great range of colors, used as raw material for the manufacture of chipped stone artifacts. Varieties include jasper and flint.
chi-tho: crude bifacially flaked boulder spall or slab scraper-cutting tools commonly associated with northern Athabaskan assemblages. Similar to a cortical spall tool.
chiefdom: a term used to describe a society that operates on the principle of ranking, i.e. differential social status. Different lineages are graded on a scale of prestige, calculated by how closely related one is to the chief. The chiefdom generally has a permanent ritual and ceremonial center, as well as being characterized by local specialization in crafts.
chin: a bony projection of the lower border of the outside of the mandible.
chinampas: the areas of fertile reclaimed land, constructed by the Aztecs, and made of mud dredged from canals.
chondrodystrophic dwarfism: a form of dwarfism in which the individual's head and trunk are of normal size but the limbs are quite short; inherited as a dominant.
chopper: a natural pebble with a crude, steep cutting edge formed by unifacial percussion flaking.
chordate: a member of the phylum Chordata characterized by the presence of a notochord, a dorsal hollow single nerve cord, and gill slits at some point in the life cycle.
chorion: a membrane derived from the amnion that lies just beneath the shell in the amniote egg and acts as a surface for oxygen absorption.
chorionic villas biopsy: a method of analyzing the embryo by sampling the tissue of the placenta surrounding the developing embryo.
chromatic: one of the two strands of a replicated chromosome. Two chromatics are joined together by a centromere.
chromosomal aberration: an abnormal chromosome number or chromosome structure.
chromosome: a body in the nucleus of the cell that contains the hereditary material.
chronological age: the period of time since birth.
chronology: arrangement of past events in time.
chronometric dating: a dating system that refers to a specific point or range of time. Chronometric dates are not necessarily exact dates, and they are often expressed as a range.
civilization: a term used by anthropologists to describe any society that has cities.
clade: a group of species with a common evolutionary ancestry.
cladistics: a theory of classification that differentiates between shared ancestral and shared derived features.
cladogram: a graphic representation of the species, or other taxa, being studied, based upon cladistic analysis.
clan: a unilineal descent group usually comprising more than ten generations consisting of members who claim a common ancestry even though they cannot trace step-by-step their exact connection to a common ancestor.
class: a major division of a phylum, consisting of closely related orders.
class: a ranked group within a stratified society characterized by achieved status and considerable social mobility.
classification: the ordering of phenomena into groups or other classificatory schemes on the basis of shared attributes (see also type and typology).
cleaver: a large core tool with a straight, sharp edge at one end.
CLIMAP: a project aimed at producing paleoclimatic maps showing sea-surface temperatures in different parts of the globe, at various periods.
clinal distribution: a distribution of frequencies that show a systematic gradation over space; also called continuous variation.
cline: continuous change in a trait or trait frequency over space or time.
cloning: the process of asexual reproduction in an otherwise multicellular animal.
closed corporate community: a community that strongly emphasizes community identity and discourages outsiders from settling there by restricting land use to village members and prohibiting the sale or lease of property to outsiders.
cluster analysis: a multivariate statistical technique which assesses the similarities between units or assemblages, based on the occurrence or non-occurrence of specific artifact types or other components within them.
code sheets: anthropologists' checklists of observed behaviors and inferred motivations for or attitudes toward them.
codominance: the situation in which, in the heterozygous condition, both alleles are expressed in the phenotype.
codon: a sequence of three bases on the DNA molecule that codes a specific amino acid or other genetic function.
cognates: words so similar from one language to the next as to suggest that both are variants of a single ancestral prototype.
cognitive anthropology: the study of how peoples of different cultures acquire information about the world (cultural transmission), how they process that information and reach decisions, and how they act on that information in ways that other members of their cultures consider appropriate.
cognitive archaeology: the study of past ways of thought and symbolic structures from material remains.
cognitive imperative: the human need to impose order on the world by mental processes.
cognitive map: an interpretive framework of the world which, it is argued, exists in the human mind and affects actions and decisions as well as knowledge structures.
cognitive processes: ways of perceiving and ordering the world.
cognitive-processual approach: an alternative to the materialist orientation of the functional-processual approach, it is concerned with (1) the integration of the cognitive and symbolic with other aspects of early societies; (2) the role of ideology as an active organizational force. It employs the theoretical approach of methodological individualism.
collagen: the organic fraction of bone as distinct from the mineral or carbonate portion. Can be dated by the C-14 method.
collateral flaking: when flakes on a chipped stone artifact extend to the middle from both edges forming a medial ridge. The flakes are at right angles to the longitudinal axis, and regular and uniform in size.
collateral relatives: people to whom one is related through a connecting person.
colluvium: materials deposited by gravity at the foot of a slope, e.g. talus, soil creep, etc.
Colobinae: subfamily of Old World monkeys that includes the langurs and colobus monkeys; species that are specialized leaf eaters, possessing a complex stomach and lacking cheek pouches.
communal cult: a society with groups of ordinary people who conduct religious ceremonies for the well-being of the total community.
communication: the transmission and reception of some stimulus or message. In relation to animal life, communication occurs when one animal transmits information to another animal.
community identity: an effort by speakers to identify themselves with a specific locality and to distinguish themselves from outsiders.
community: among chimpanzees, a large group of chimpanzees that, through fission and fusion, is composed of a series of constantly changing smaller units, including the all-male party, family unit, nursery unit, consortship, and gathering.
competition: the situation in which two populations occupy the same or parts of the same niche.
complementary pair: a set of two nucleotides, each on a different polynucleotide chain, that are attracted to each other by a chemical bond. In DNA, adenine and thymine and cytosine and guanine form complementary pairs.
complex: a consistently recurring assemblage of artifacts or traits which may be indicative of a specific set of activities, or a common cultural tradition.
component: "the manifestation of a given archaeological phase at a site." (Willey and Phillips 1958: 21.) Sites may be "single component" (only one distinct cultural unit), or "multi-component" (2 or more cultural units).
composite tool: a tool formed of two or more joined parts, e.g. "composite toggling harpoon head".
compound tool: a tool that is composed of several parts, for example, a harpoon.
computed axial tomography (CAT or CT scanner): the method by which scanners allow detailed internal views of bodies such as mummies. The body is passed into the machine and images of crosssectional "slices" through the body are produced.
concentration: a notable accumulation of archaeological materials in a small area, such as a "concentration of flakes" etc.
conchoidal flake: a type of spall resulting from the fracture of fine-grained, or glassy rocks. Characterized by a bulb of percussion, striking platform remnant, and extremely sharp edges. A predictable fracture pattern that allows the manufacture of Pre-determined tools from these materials.
concretion: a natural clay nodule formed out of solution in soil interstices. Often confused for man-made objects because of their peculiar shapes.
conduction: the movement of heat from one object to another by direct contact.
cones: cells of the retina of the eye. Each of the three types of cones is sensitive to a specific wavelength of light, thereby producing color vision.
conflict: in its political manifestation, conflict exacts an ever-increasing toll in human lives and misery.
conjoining: see refitting.
conjugal relationship: the relationship between spouses.
conjunctive approach: a methodological alternative to traditional normative archaeology, argued by Walter Taylor (1948), in which the full range of a culture system was to be taken into consideration in explanatory models.
consanguineal kin: persons related by birth.
consanguineous mating: mating between biological relatives.
conservation: the protection and care of archaeological resources.
consort pair: a male and an estrus female that form a temporary alliance.
consortship: among chimpanzees, a small group consisting of an adult male with an estrus female and her young.
constitutive heterochromatin: chromosomal material that is not thought to contain any actual genes.
context: an artifact's context usually consists of its immediate matrix (the material surrounding it e.g. gravel, clay, or sand), its provenience (horizontal and vertical position within the matrix), and its association with other artifacts (occurrence together with other archaeological remains, usually in the same matrix). "Primary context" refers to materials found in their original position; "secondary context" refers to materials which have been displaced and redeposited by disturbance factors; "geological context" is the relationship of the archaeological finds to geological strata.